Five Tips for Smart Shopping

Patient Expert

Have you heard someone complain that they made an impulse purchase? My closet if full of them When we talk about impulse buying - we are usually talking about clothes, shoes, cars " but buying unplanned food items at the grocery store is another kind of impulse purchase. I think we've all done it - gotten home with a bag of potato chips, a container of ice cream or package of cookies that we hadn't planned to buy. These impulse purchases can be a dieting disaster because let's face it, we don't usually impulse buy broccoli! When we go to the supermarket hungry or without a list it is easier to succumb to the temptation of unhealthy foods.

If we make impulse purchases every time we go grocery shopping, they can lead to unwanted pounds. Healthy eating starts at the supermarket, buying the healthy ingredients is the first step in preparing nutritious meals. But with all the different options, the grocery store can be a major hurdle in your dieting efforts. Believe it or not, there is a strategy to healthy grocery shopping. If you follow these tips, I think you'll find that grocery shopping is much less daunting.

1. Don't grocery shop hungry. If you go shopping for groceries when you are feeling hungry it is much harder to resist buying high-sugar, high-fat snack foods. Going to the supermarket hungry is the adult equivalent of letting a child loose in a candy store!

2. Make a list. Preparing a list of items you want to buy before you go to the supermarket can help you stay focused while shopping. If you don't have a list, you are more likely to wander around the store aimlessly and make those impulse purchases.

3. Shop the perimeter. The healthiest foods are located along the perimeter of the grocery store: fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats and grains. The sugar filled, high-fat snack foods are usually located in the center aisles of the grocery store. So shop smart and shop the perimeter.

4. Get in and get out. When you are at the supermarket, focus on buying the things you use on a daily basis and get out. The longer you spend inside the store the more likely you are to notice treats that you would like to try.

5. Stick to your budget. Work out a grocery budget while you are putting together your list and then stick to your budget. If you have allocated a certain amount of money to spend on groceries, you won't be able to purchase those cookies on impulse.

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